Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Earl Grey Glaze
These muffins start with my favorite lemon muffin recipe from Cooking Light. Olive oil and ricotta cheese replace the butter in this recipe which results in a perfectly tender muffin. I have made several variations of these muffins over the years but most recently I added poppyseeds and an earl grey glaze and I think it may be my favorite yet. Admittedly, topping these muffins with a glaze pushes them into more of a treat category than a snack, at least from a caloric standpoint. But the glaze is really nice and unexpected. Infusing cream with some earl grey tea gives it a decidedly floral taste which complements the lemon muffin. Originally, I had hoped to post these last week before Mother’s Day, because they would be so lovely as part of a Mother’s Day Brunch. But that didn’t happen. Life happened. So here they are, a week late, but no less delicious. :)
For my second Mother’s Day, Ray presented me with a dwarf Meyer lemon tree, which I thenceforth named Matilda. I loved Matilda. I immediately had visions of so many lemons hanging from her branches that we would have to give them away to make room for the new flowers that were constantly coming into bloom.
When I look at Matilda, I am reminded that the demons running around and causing mayhem in a life where I try to cultivate order are truly the best of gifts. It is unfortunate that Matilda refuses to grow and spends most of her life in a sunny window looking rather sparse and uninspiring which I believe is directly related to how often I remember that my kids are gifts and not creators of chaos. :)
Clearly Matilda, much like my baby, was not always thrilled with us. She has been moved with us 3 times. Each time we would pack her as carefully as possible and yet she would protest and shower the floor of the truck with her shiny leaves, so that when we pulled her out to find her a spot in our new home, she looked barren and wretched. She has been nursed along for the past 8 years by Ray because he’s a good sport and he knows how much I love that darn tree. And because he also knows that if left to my own devices, I would likely kill her and then be devastated by my implicit role in her demise.
I wish I could say that Matilda’s branches do provide us with a never-ending supply of lemons just as I envisioned, and that I use those very same lemons to make these muffins.
I am sorry to report that is absolutely not true. It would be poetic indeed, but in reality Matilda allows us about 2 lemons per year, which is not enough to even make one batch of these muffins! Instead, we harvest them and Ray makes one fantastic cup of lemonade that the four of us share, each getting a few sips before it is gone and we begin the waiting game all over again. Every year I am a tad bit surprised when we gather around the shared cup of lemonade because I never stop thinking that this year will be the one when Matilda decides to share her gifts with us to a more prodigious degree. Hope springs eternal however, so I’ll keep hoping! Until then, I’ll also keep stocking up on lemons at the grocery store. Go get some, make some muffins!
- 3 tablespoons light cream
- 1 earl grey tea bag
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- zest of 3 lemons
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
- 1. Heat cream in a small microwave-safe cup or ramekin for 20 seconds or until it bubbles around the outside.
- 2. Press tea bag down into hot cream and steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bag and chill cream while you make the muffins.
- 3. Once cream is chilled, whisk in a pinch of salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar, stirring until smooth.
- 4. Pour glaze into a disposable zip-top sandwich bag. Snip off the corner of the bag and drizzle the glaze down over top of the cooled muffins.
- 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- 2. In a medium bowl, beat together egg, ricotta, water, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.
- 3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add flour mixture to egg mixture. Stir gently until combined. Add poppyseeds.
- 4. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Fill each well with batter. One recipe will make 12 standard size muffins or approximately 30 mini muffins.
- 5. Bake standard muffins for 15 to 20 minutes or mini muffins for 10-12 minutes.
- 6. Test muffins by inserting a toothpick into the middle of a muffin on the inside of the pan. If the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are done. If it still has batter on it, then the muffins need more time.
- 7. When done remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, drizzle with glaze.
- - The ricotta cheese makes for a moist and tender muffin, so these keep best in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- - Muffins can be made ahead of time, but if you are serving them for a special occasion, the glaze will look nicest if you drizzle it on close to serving time.
- - Wrapped in plastic, muffins freeze well!